Tour book­ings show out­bound trav­el­ers’ tastes evolv­ing

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHU WEN­QIAN in Bei­jing zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese tourists are in­creas­ingly pre­fer­ring high-qual­ity ho­tels and mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences when they travel abroad, re­flect­ing their ris­ing pur­chas­ing power and evo­lu­tion of taste, travel agen­cies said.

For this year’s Oct 1-7 Na­tional Day hol­i­day, when Chi­nese tourists’ out­bound trav­els peak, prices of over­seas travel pack­ages are same as, or slightly cheaper than, last year’s.

This year, in ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional tourism hotspots, some ex­otic desti­na­tions have be­come at­trac­tive for Chi­nese. Those coun­tries or re­gions in­clude Morocco, the Mid­dle East, East Europe and Sri Lanka, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral travel agen­cies.

“Com­bined with the in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated pref­er­ences of Chi­nese, the Na­tional Day hol­i­day is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for trav­el­ers to head to desti­na­tions that are not pos­si­ble to visit dur­ing shorter hol­i­days or the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year, which is usu­ally a time for fam­ily re­unions or other obli­ga­tions,” said Alex Yan, COO of Tu­niu Corp, an on­line travel agency based in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince.

Ja­pan, Thai­land, In­done­sia, the United States, Aus­tralia and New Zealand have emerged as the top desti­na­tions for Chi­nese this month. Typ­i­cally, trav­el­ers squeeze in a few days more to have ex­tended va­ca­tions like 10-day trips, ac­cord­ing to Qyer, a Bei­jing­based travel in­for­ma­tion web­site.

“Many Chi­nese trav­el­ers choose to take ad­van­tage of the long hol­i­day and go to some coun­tries that are rel­a­tively far from China. The United States and Ocea­nia coun­tries are pre­ferred by in­de­pen­dent vis­i­tors, as they are suit­able for self-driv­ing travel,” said Zhang Qi, vice-pres­i­dent of Qyer.

The num­ber of Chi­nese who vis­ited the US dur­ing this year’s Na­tional Day rose three­fold on the back of the eas­ing of tourist visa pro­ce­dures.

In the first half of 2016, Chi­nese peo­ple made 59.03 mil­lion in­di­vid­ual trips abroad, up 4.3 per­cent year-onyear, ac­cord­ing to the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

A re­port by Lv­mama, an on­line travel ser­vice provider, at­trib­uted the rise to the fact that China and the US had agreed to grant each other’s cit­i­zens 10-year mul­ti­ple-en­try visas.

Du Ni, 27, an of­fice worker in Bei­jing, said she plans to go to Hawaii dur­ing the break as she would like to go to a trop­i­cal is­land for va­ca­tion, and found that the flight and ho­tel pack­age of Hawaii seemed cost-ef­fec­tive.

“I’d also like to take this op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for a 10-year US visa, so that it would be eas­ier and more con­ve­nient for me to go there again in the fu­ture,” Du said.

Ja­pan, South Korea and some South­east Asian coun­tries re­main pop­u­lar among Chi­nese trav­el­ers, thanks to their prox­im­ity, cheaper pack­ages and fa­vor­able visa poli­cies.

In re­cent months, the Chi­nese yuan’s de­pre­ci­a­tion against the Ja­panese yen in­creased the cost of Ja­pan trips for Chi­nese trav­el­ers. Still, Ja­pan re­mains one of the hottest desti­na­tions for Chi­nese.

“Tourists travel to a place be­cause they are in­ter­ested in that place, and they are able to find a pack­age within their bud­get. While cur­rency ex­change rate changes do af­fect the cost of a trip, their im­pact is mar­ginal. And tourists in­tent on vis­it­ing a par­tic­u­lar coun­try will do so, no mat­ter what,” Yan said.

Hakone in Ja­pan and Panay Is­land in the Philip­pines will host a large num­ber of Chi­nese tourists dur­ing the Na­tional Day hol­i­day, ac­cord­ing to TripAd­vi­sor,

Ter­ror at­tacks in Europe and else­where have dented sales of tours to desti­na­tions there. In par­tic­u­lar, France, Ger­many and Turkey are ex­pected to re­ceive fewer Chi­nese trav­el­ers in Oc­to­ber.

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